Opinion Pieces

Role Playing Games Make Up 60% of Korean Mobile Game Sales

New data from Sensor Tower highlights RPGs as a significant force in South Korea's mobile gaming market.

Eliza Crichton-Stuart author picture}

Eliza Crichton-Stuart

Head of Operations

RPGs Korean Mobile Gaming

Recent data from Sensor Tower underscores the prominence of Role-Playing Games (RPGs) in South Korea's mobile gaming market, constituting a substantial 60% of total sales. South Korea's standing as a major player in the gaming industry remains unshaken, with trends reverberating on a global scale. In this article, we unpick the latest trends and give insights as to why these findings are significant for web3 gaming.

RPGs Korean Mobile Gaming

Looking at the proportion of global mobile game sales by genre from January 1st to August 31st this year, RPGs contributed to the most sales at 25.1 percent followed by Strategy (20.1%), Puzzle (12.9%), and Casino (11.8%).


During the same period, the Korean market had the third highest share of global mobile RPG sales at 13.5%, following Japan at 34% and China's iOS at 20.9%. Interestingly, the proportion of RPGs in mobile game sales in the Korean market was 57.5%, which was much higher than Japan's 47.8%, China's iOS 27%, and the United States 11.3%.  


Now looking specifically at mobile RPG sales in the Korean market from 2019 to 2023, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) continue to be the primary drivers, making up 69.5% of RPG sales in 2023. Nevertheless, there has been a modest 9.6% dip from the 2019 peak of 77%, reflecting a diversification of subgenres.


Additionally, squad-based RPGs have seen a commendable surge, registering a 39% increase in market share between 2019 and 2023. Titles like Goddess of Victory: Nikke and Cookie Run: Kingdom have propelled squad RPGs to become the second-highest-grossing subgenre in South Korea.

The core concept of assembling character teams within squad RPGs has gained prominence, introducing character collection as a pivotal feature. This shift has led to increased sales, exemplified by Goddess of Victory: Nikke, which saw a significant 372% increase in daily sales following the introduction of the character Modernia. Similarly, Cookie Run: Kingdom witnessed a notable 148% boost on March 9, coinciding with the debut of new characters Stardust and Alien Donut.


Goddess of Victory: Nikke has ascended as South Korea's most popular squad RPG, securing a coveted spot in the top 10 RPG charts alongside MMORPG titles and Honkai: Star Rail.

Idle Games on the Rise

The idle game subgenre has witnessed a noteworthy surge, with a remarkable 159% increase in market share from 1.7% in 2019 to 4.4% in 2023. Legend of Slime: Idle RPG has been a key player, generating $77 million in global revenue and an impressive $10 million in South Korea since its release in August 2022. Despite its dominance in idle RPG sales, it secured the 36th position in the overall charts.

This success can be attributed to several factors, including an effective advertising strategy, an engaging storyline, and a low entry barrier for new players. The game also performed well in the advertising sector, ranking first on ironSource, second on TikTok, and seventh on Unity in January 2023.


Relevance to Web3 Gaming

The robust gaming landscape in South Korea carries implications beyond traditional mobile gaming. As the web3 gaming ecosystem continues to evolve, the diverse subgenres within RPGs serve as a microcosm of the wider industry. 

Fableborne, by Pixion Games, is a good example. This isometric play-to-own multiplayer game combines elements of Action RPG and Base Building, offering players a unique gaming experience. With its rich storyline and diverse gameplay elements, Fableborne is set to redefine mobile gaming in the web3 space.

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Final Thoughts

The rise of squad RPGs and idle games, fueled by character collection and innovative advertising strategies, foreshadows potential trends in web3 gaming, specifically focusing on mobile. The collaborative and decentralized nature of web3 gaming can harness these trends to create unique gaming experiences and monetization models. South Korea's mobile gaming scene, with its preference for RPGs, can thus provide valuable insights for developers and enthusiasts looking to explore the web3 gaming frontier.



October 12th 2023


October 11th 2023

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